It's a new day, a new dawn - from Sri Pada

Trip Start Nov 01, 2005
Trip End Apr 30, 2006

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, January 1, 2006

I slept through the midnight count-down to the New Year and got up at 2am to begin the walk up Sri Pada. Adams Peak (or Sri Pada as it's locally known) is one of Sri Lanka's foremost buddhist pilgrimage sites and most striking natural features. At the top there's a buddhist shrine and what is said to be the imprint of buddhas foot.

I went there with Upul, one of the field scouts that I've been working with.
The path is lit all the way up and has little tea shops to sustain you. It all felt quite festive, with lots of the pilgrims wishing us happy new year as we ascended.

It was a long climb up the 4800 steps to the top of the mountain and we arrived a bit too early so had to wait in the cold for sunrise. I don't think many people in Sri Lanka own jumpers as the pilgrims were wrapped in a variety of dressing gowns, towels and blankets. Luckily I had my adventure hooded poncho to keep the wind out.

As the sun rose the panorama of mountain tops was revealed, a spectacular sight.
Unfortunately it was slightly cloudy so we didn't get to see the strange floating triangular shadow of the summit (so still can't explain what it is properly)

We ran back down in just over an hour as we were worried that Upul might miss his bus connection back to Wasgamuwa (a 6 hour journey). We saw small religious processions with drums and smoking incense with the stunning backdrop of the misty mountains.
To try to speed things up we had a tuk-tuk back to Hatton and got stopped at one point by monks to be blessed and had our foreheads daubed with ash.

Since it was only 10am and I'd been blessed twice, it must be an auspicious start to 2006. And if nothing else it's nourishment for my tout withered soul.
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